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Child Support 101

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The calculation for child support in the state of California is determined by a seemingly simple formula:  CS=K[HN-(H%)(TN)]*. In plain English this formula determines child support based upon the income of both parents and the time each spends with the child. Usually this boils down to: the more you make, and less custody time you have with your child, the more you will pay. On the other hand: the more custody time you have with your child, and the less you make, the more you will receive.

The reality, however, is that this formula is highly susceptible to skewing one way or another through good lawyering. This is because a formula is only is good as the information given to it. By taking advantage of certain code sections, or characterizing earnings or spending in different ways, the inputs of the formula can be manipulated in a ways that drastically change the output.

For example, California Family Code § 4057.5 provides that when a “parent  … voluntarily or intentionally quits work or reduces income … and relies on a subsequent spouse’s income” the new spouses’ income may be considered in determining support! That is, under this code section, a parent may be treated as though they are earning what their new spouse does.

Taking advantage or avoiding code sections like § 4057.5 requires a careful analysis of the facts or each case, knowledge of the applicable law, and the tactical know-how of how and when to present their evidence.

The Bay Area Family law attorneys of Jones & Devoy are skilled and experienced in Family law support matters. If you or someone you know has legal questions, contact our lawyers in San Francisco free consultation. We can help…

* Key: CS = amount of child support; K = both parent’s income allocated for child support; HN = high earner’s net monthly disposable income; H = time of physical responsibility for the child (children); TN = combined total monthly net disposable income.

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